Legislation that provides better monitoring of concussions in Pennsylvania’s interscholastic athletes was signed into law by Gov. Tom Corbett on Nov. 9, 2011.
Strongly supported by the Pennsylvania Medical Society, Senate Bill 200 (now Act 101) requires any student-athlete who exhibits signs or symptoms of a concussion or head injury to obtain clearance by a licensed or certified medical professional trained in concussions before being allowed to resume playing sports.
Some highlights of the bill include:
- The Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Education will develop guidelines and other relevant materials to educate students, their parents, and their coaches about the nature and risk of concussions.
- A student participating in an athletic activity and the student’s parent or guardian will be required to sign and return to the student’s school an acknowledgment of receipt and review of a concussion and traumatic brain injury information sheet.
- On an annual basis, coaches will be required to complete the concussion management certification training course offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Federation of State High School Associations, or another provider approved by the DOH.
About 300,000 Americans will get a sports-related concussion this year. Of those at risk, high school student-athletes tend to be more vulnerable than older athletes because their central nervous systems are more immature, concussions are often not recognized, and high school coaches and trainers rely on subjective self-reported symptoms.
This legislation, which was introduced by Sen. Pat Browne (R-Lehigh), takes effect July 1, 2012.